I recently had the pleasure of replaying both Portal games, once again thwopping down portals while having my morale eroded by the lovably sociopathic GLaDOS.
This time around, though, I noticed one thing in particular that I found kind of interesting. See, all of the puzzles that had stumped me on my previous playthroughs were incredibly obvious to me, while the ones I had previously breezed through provided the only moderately difficult sections on this go-around.
That makes sense, since the portions that were particularly tricky required extra thought on my part, making them memorable to me. The easier portions had receded from the forefront of my mind because I had never spent all that much time with them.
That got me wishing I could replay the series again for the first time. No spoilers. No YouTubing puzzle solutions. No memory of how these puzzles worked to guide me. No preconceptions on jokes about cake.
And that got me thinking: What if I could replay any game over again for the first time? I already wrote a bit about how it would feel to once again experience the wonder of my first new world in Minecraft, but what other games would simply be better if I could re-experience them with virgin eyes?
What if I could have my mind bent at the plot twist midway through the original BioShock, or the clusterbuggery ending of BioShock Infinite? What if I could set foot in Skyrim with a blank map and no recollection of “arrow in the knee” memes? What if I could see the cliffhanger ending of Half-Life 2: Episode Two without realizing that I would probably never see the plot lines of that game resolved? (Are you catching my implications here, Valve?) What if I could be surprised by Aeris’s death in Final Fantasy VII all over again, in all its low-polygon glory?
Okay, so that last one might not be completely valid, since I really doubt I could enjoy Final Fantasy VII as an adult in the same way I did when I was an angsty teen with an incredibly dysfunctional family and a collection of 90s punk rock records. But still, I’m convinced that my first time playing through any of the events mentioned in the paragraph above would greatly transcend the feeling of re-experiencing of them for the umpteenth time.
I’m remembering a fantastic scene in the final episode of Freaks and Geeks (R.I.P.) where the cute deadhead chick finds out that Lindsay Weir was recently lent a copy of The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty record. The deadhead (whose name is Samaire, apparently, according to this recap that I apathetically Googled) tells her, “I wish I never heard it, just so I could hear it again for the first time.” It’s a great line in a great show filled with as-of-yet-undiscovered stars destined for greatness, and one that’s perfectly relatable to me after my recent Portal experience.
I mean, the first time through any great game is such a magical experience where just about anything can happen.
So, beautiful GameZone readers, which games would you like to replay over again with a completely clean slate? Let me know in the comments section.
Josh Wirtanen writes all sorts of things about gaming and technology. He also writes adorable indie folk music and draws cartoon monsters. You know you want to follow him on Twitter @joshuajwirtanen